INNER AND OUTER ALCHEMY

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Once there ruled a king in ancient India, whose name was Janashrut. He had a grandson who came to be known as Janashruti Pautrayana. This grandson was known for his philanthropy and charities. He planted a large number of trees along the roadside, built rest houses and maintained numerous free feeding houses.

This philanthropic work made him egoistic. He thought, “This is the best way to accumulate merits and to get peace of mind. No one is so great a patron as I, nor will there be a greater philanthropist than I.” Thus he felt proud of his achievements.

One day, when he was strolling at night on the terrace of his palace, he saw swans speeding fast to their nests. While flying, two of them were chattering and gossiping. The King, who incidentally knew the language of the birds, overheard their conversation.

One swan said to the other, “Look at the lustrous beam of light of Janashruti Pautrayana’s merits spreading all around like the light of the heaven. How beautiful is this band of light proceeding from him? Don’t try to cross it or else you will be burnt to ashes.”

The other swan laughed and said, “Don’t threaten me by this light of his. Have you forgotten that we wander everywhere and know more of the world than others? Moreover, this King is filled with the pride of his philanthropy.

“On the other hand, look at Raikwa, the cart puller, who is ever in harmony with the inner and the outer space. His lustre spreads all over the cosmos. If one knows what Raikwa knows, he will also become one like him. In fact he has become what is known as becoming – he has realised the Ultimate Reality.”

The King who overheard the conversation of the two swans, could not sleep that night. The name of Raikwa began to haunt him. He thought, “I must find out who this Raikwa is. What is this inner and outer harmony? How can the inner and the outer be one? How has he achieved this harmony? What is the key to it?”

At dawn when his minstrels came to awaken him with eulogistic words, the King Janashruti Pautrayana said to them, “Stop all this eulogy. There is one who is more praiseworthy than I. His name is Raikwa. Go and find out who this man is; only then shall I find peace of mind. I want to meet him.”

All his men went around his kingdom in search of Raikwa but could not find any such person. They, therefore, returned and said to the King, “Venerable Sir, we have searched your entire kingdom but we have failed to find such a man.”

The King replied, “You have searched in the wrong direction. That is why you were unable to find him. I am sure if you search for him where ascetics and saints reside you will find him. Go once again and search for him there.”

Finally, his soldiers saw Raikwa sitting beside his cart, scratching leisurely his back with his cart. His face was calm and there was compassion in his eyes.

One of the soldiers approached him and said, “Venerable Sir, I beg your pardon for disturbing you when you are enjoying the peace of yours. I want to know whether you are Raikwa, the cart puller.”

Raikwa replied with indifference, “Oh! I am so.”

The soldiers then returned to the king and told him, “We have been able to find Raikwa as he resides exactly at the place suggested by you.”

Janashruti Pautrayana was delighted to hear this and said, “We should make preparations to leave tomorrow at dawn.”

Next morning, Janashruti Pautrayana left for Raikwa’s village along with his men. He took with himself six hundred heads of cattle, a necklace and a chariot drawn by she-mules.

On arrival, Janashruti Pautrayana introduced himself to Raikwa and said, “Venerable Sir, I have heard that you have great merits and also know that by knowing which everything is known. O wise one, please tell me about this inner and outer alchemy -- on attaining which one realises the Ultimate Truth. Kindly accept as gift these six hundred heads of cattle, a necklace, a chariot drawn by she-mules in lieu of your teachings.”

Raikwa looked at Janashruti Pautrayana and said, “Janashruti Pautrayana, do you think that the Ultimate Truth can be purchased by these trinkets that you have brought for me? They are worthless to me. Remember this knowledge cannot be purchased or bartered. Moreover you are still victim of the egoistic sense that you are doing so much for the people. So go back to your kingdom, you do not deserve to be imparted this teaching.”

Feeling dejected, Janashruti Pautrayana returned to his kingdom. He could not eat nor could he sleep properly. He was always thinking of Raikwa. The more he stayed away from him the acuter was the thirst in him for the Ultimate Truth. Finally, he, therefore, decided to make one more attempt to meet Raikwa. This time, he approached Raikwa in a humble manner and said, “O wise one, I once again have come to you. Kindly teach me the alchemy of the inner and outer harmony.”

Raikwa looked at him and saw that the King was now ready for the spiritual lesson and imparted to him the alchemy of the inner and outer harmony. He said to Janashruti Pautrayana, “O King! Everybody lives in duality and thinks that the inner is different from the outer and the outer from the inner. He goes on making this distinction. This duality exists on account of the nature of his mind. In reality there is no duality between the inner and the outer world. Both are one and the same.

“The universe that you see is pulsating with the consciousness of the Unmanifest. This consciousness is the merger-point which, if attained to, merges with the Unmanifest. The Sun rises and sets and rises again. This movement is due to the power of the cosmic consciousness. When the fire goes out, it merges with the consciousness. The waters of dried up rivers enter into that cosmic consciousness. Indeed everything ultimately merges into this consciousness and as also emerges out of it again. This consciousness has always been here and is eternal and timeless.

“The Unmanifest manifesting itself in the universe is the knower and the known both. It is bodiless and yet it is embodied in bodies. There is nothing that it is not. For this reason all names are names of it, because all things come from it. All things along with the times they exist in derive their existence from this Unmanifest. Even eternity is a derivative of it. It has turned itself into many mirrors wherein it is reflected but it remains itself as one as before and is in all things forming their root.

“Don’t think that it is confined to anything nor should you think of it as lying outside of anything, since it is limitless itself and is the limit of all things. It is encompassed by nothing and yet it encompasses everything.

“On the individual plane, this consciousness is the merger point to reach the Ultimate Reality. All speech, organs of the body, sensory organs, and mind merge into this consciousness. When this consciousness unfolds itself, you become aware that objects lose their objectivity and subjects lose their subjectivity. Once this happens, your awareness transforms into a state of transcendental consciousness – known as witnessing state where there is no “I” and “thou” but a crystal clear mirror, which reflects that which is.

“If you open yourself to this Reality, this universe including yourself does not remain a mere physical phenomenon but the manifestation of the Unmanifest. Once this truth dawns upon you, everything enters into harmony with one another. Then the trees, stars, rivers and indeed all that are there, get in communion with this multidimensional expression of the Reality. Only when you attain this state of witnessing, you realise the meaning of sarvam khalvidam brahma – all this definitely is Brahman. So this world is just like a rainbow. Enjoy witnessing the rainbows.

“There are many individuals who hold the wrong view that this universe and the individuals are mass of energy, which is the driving force and is governed by certain physical laws. They forget that behind all this, the real driving force is the cosmic ocean of consciousness, otherwise how can energy and life function without being conscious?

“So Janashruti Paturayana, on individual plane, we are waves of the cosmic ocean of consciousness. Waves come and go but the ocean continues. Life that you see around you is neither born nor dies but if you look deep down into the wave, you will find an ocean with eternal depth and unfathomable mystery.

“One day, when this witnessing of yours enters into the source of existence, it disappears into the Unmanifest. Only this witness is important since it opens its wings and flies into another realm where all separations disappear. This witness and harmony can only happen if you enter into deep state of meditation. Look at that tree meditatively. Do not try to analyse it, but try to be one with it. When its identity as well as yours is lost, then that tree no longer will be a tree with green leaves but the glimmering consciousness of the Unmanifest.

“Therefore, Janashruti Pautrayana there is nothing to choose, nothing to discard; live choicelessly both sides of your being – the inner as well as the outer. Only then you will attain the peace that passeth understanding.”

On hearing the alchemy of unification of the inner and the outer, the king got enlightened. While departing, he gave a thousand heads of cattle, numerous gold coins, chariots and even his own daughter in marriage to Raikwa.

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